Greece’s Forthnet Selects Harmonic to Improve Satellite Bandwidth Efficiency, Video Quality

Harmonic announced that Forthnet, the company that owns Nova, the largest pay-TV satellite platform in Greece, has chosen a high-end compression headend with video analytics from Harmonic to support its direct-to-home (DTH) SD/HD service. The integrated solution was installed by Harmonic’s local channel partner and system integrator OmniWave.

Using Harmonic’s high-density, scalable video infrastructure solutions, Nova has successfully increased bandwidth efficiency, improved video quality, and lowered operating expenses. Relying on a mix of MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, as well as DVB-S2 technologies, the Harmonic solution gives Nova a competitive edge in the satellite DTH market and increases customer satisfaction.

“Our customers are constantly demanding superior video quality. Ultimately, we decided that a combination of DVB-S2 and MPEG-4 SD and HD technologies would be the most cost-effective method for delivering that experience and for reducing our OPEX by eliminating the cost of one satellite transponder,” said Constantinos Moraitis, technical director, Pay-TV Technical Division at Nova. “Only Harmonic’s infrastructure solutions gave us the flexibility to produce more content and seamlessly expand our service offerings in the future, while lowering our total cost of ownership. In addition to performing MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 compression, Harmonic’s video processing solutions support advanced capabilities such as statistical multiplexing, enabling us to deliver excellent video quality at low bit rates. The cooperation, experience, and professionalism from Harmonic and OmniWave made this a smooth transition.”

Nova is utilizing Harmonic’s market-leading Electra encoders for high-quality, low-bandwidth MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 encoding of SD and HD video content for live and VOD DTH services. The ultra-dense, durable, and high-performance encoders increase Nova’s channel count per satellite transponder, enabling the operator to reclaim valuable bandwidth that can be used to expand its service offerings.

The Electra encoders are integrated with Harmonic’s ProStreamstream processors for multiplexing, scrambling, and statistical multiplexing of MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 services in multiple streams. Utilizing the ProStream processor for statistical multiplexing, Nova can support up to 64 services per statistically multiplexed pool, 16 pools per platform, and three pools within a single transport stream in order to increase bandwidth efficiency. The ProStream platform is based on a highly robust, extensible, and scalable design that lowers Nova’s operating expenses through reduced rack space and power requirements.

To maximize quality and efficiency, Nova deployed Harmonic’s Iris advanced video analytics software suite to allow simultaneous monitoring and analysis of up to 250 video services. After collecting data from the Electra encoders in Nova’s headend, Iris presents the operator with a comprehensive set of user-friendly charts, reports, and dashboards. Leveraging these resources, Nova can optimally balance its DTH channels across statmux pools to optimize bandwidth use and ensure high video quality, ultimately increasing viewer satisfaction.

“As satellite operators look to broaden their channel lineups, utilizing bandwidth efficiently becomes increasingly important,” said Ian Graham, vice president of sales, EMEA, Harmonic. “Using the latest innovations in integrated video processing and analysis from Harmonic, Nova can deliver hundreds of MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 DTH channels while maintaining crystal-clear video quality at the lowest possible TCO.”

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